|Publication number||US7734704 B2|
|Application number||US 11/460,642|
|Publication date||Jun 8, 2010|
|Filing date||Jul 28, 2006|
|Priority date||Jul 28, 2006|
|Also published as||US20080028026|
|Publication number||11460642, 460642, US 7734704 B2, US 7734704B2, US-B2-7734704, US7734704 B2, US7734704B2|
|Inventors||Yen-Fu Chen, John Hans Handy-Bosma, Patsy Annette Spears, Keith Raymond Walker|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (7), Classifications (5), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to a method and system for identifying an instant message that is designated as being unread by a user, and automatically redisplaying the identified message via the user's instant message client application.
Under certain conditions, a user who is the intended recipient of an instant message does not read an instant message even though the message is received by the user's instant message client. For example, a window for displaying the instant message may not be displayed long enough to allow adequate time for reading the message if there is an untimely (1) closing of the window, (2) exiting or crashing of the instant message client, (2) crashing of the operating system of the user's computing device, or (3) powering down of the user's computing device. Conventionally, the user receives no assistance from the instant message client in identifying the instant message as being unread under the aforementioned conditions. Further, known techniques for recovering such an unread message include a time-consuming and predominantly manual search of log files based on timestamps. Thus, there exists a need to overcome at least one of the preceding deficiencies and limitations of the related art.
In first embodiments, the present invention provides a method of redisplaying an instant message in a computing environment, the method comprising:
receiving an instant message at an instant message (IM) client application;
storing the instant message in a data repository;
displaying the instant message or a notification of the instant message in a first window, the first window capable of being viewed by a user of the IM client application, the first window provided by the IM client application;
identifying the instant message as being unread by the user based on pre-defined criteria;
detecting a pre-defined action, the pre-defined action prompting a search of the data repository for any instant message identified as unread by the user via the identifying;
locating the instant message in the data repository based on the search; and
automatically redisplaying the instant message or the notification of the instant message in a second window provided by the IM client application and viewable by the user, the automatically redisplaying performed in response to the identifying, the detecting and the locating.
A system, computer program product, and process for supporting computing infrastructure corresponding to the above-summarized method are also described and claimed herein.
In second embodiments, the present invention provides a computer-implemented method of re-presenting an instant message, the method comprising:
receiving an instant message at an instant message (IM) client application;
storing the instant message in a data repository;
converting the instant message to a converted instant message in a format capable of being comprehended by a user of the IM client application via a non-visual sense of the user;
presenting the converted instant message to the user via the IM client application;
identifying the instant message as being not comprehended by the user based on pre-defined criteria;
detecting a pre-defined action, the pre-defined action prompting a search of the data repository for any instant message identified as being not comprehended by the user via the identifying;
locating the instant message in the data repository based on the search; and
automatically re-presenting the converted instant message to the user via the IM client application in response to the locating.
Advantageously, the present invention improves the reliability of an instant messaging architecture by providing a technique for identifying instant messages that were probably unread by a user, and redisplaying them to the user.
The present invention provides a technique for identifying an instant message that was delivered to an instant message (IM) client application, but was unread by a user who utilizes the IM client application, and who is the intended recipient of the message. As used herein, an unread instant message is defined as an instant message that is determined to be probably not read or probably not completely read by a user by determining that a time period during which the message was displayed to the user was not adequate for the user to read or completely read the message based on pre-defined criteria. For example, a chat window that includes an instant message may be closed prematurely by the user or the IM client application may be terminated in an untimely manner (e.g., the IM client application crashes), thereby causing the user to miss reading the instant message. The present invention provides for a redisplay of the unread instant message in response to detecting pre-defined conditions (e.g., a premature closure of a window that includes the instant message, or a restart of the IM client application after a crash of the IM client application).
The present invention also provides similar features for implementations that convert instant messages to a speech or another format that is capable of being perceived or comprehended by the user via a non-visual sense of the user. Hereinafter, the instant message in this speech or other format is referred to as the converted instant message. In these implementations, an instant message is received at an IM client application and stored in a data repository. The instant message is transformed into the converted instant message and is presented to the user via the IM client application. The present invention identifies an instant message presented to the user as being not heard or otherwise not comprehended by the user (e.g., the instant message was muted prematurely), based on pre-defined criteria. For example, a presentation of a speech version of the instant message is initiated at an audible volume, but the user mutes the volume within a time period that is less than a pre-defined threshold value (i.e., the user muted the volume too quickly according to the pre-defined threshold), or an IM client application crash occurs within a time period that is less than the pre-defined threshold value. The present invention detects a pre-defined action (e.g., restart of the IM client application after a crash) that prompts a search of the data repository for messages that are identified as not having been comprehended by the user. The message that was identified as being not comprehended is located in the data repository based on the search. In response to the message being located, the present invention provides for the re-presentation of the converted instant message to the user via the IM client application.
Message Redisplay Systems
The IM client application initiates a display of an instant message received by the IM client application. A window 114 (a.k.a. chat window) provided by the IM client application is provided to display the instant message. This display of the instant message includes either (1) displaying window 114 with the instant message included as part of the contents of window 114, or (2) displaying a notification included in window 114 that does not include the instant message, and optionally providing a selectable portion of a screen display (e.g., an icon) that is capable of being selected by the user to display chat window 114 with the instant message included therein. As used herein, a window is defined as a bounded section of a display presented by a computing device running the IM client application, where the bounded section and its contents are capable of being viewed by a user of the computing device. A window and its contents may be visible to the user or hidden from the user's view due to the placement of one or more other elements of the display. If the window is initially visible to the user of the computing device, the user may view the window and its contents by viewing the display. If the window is initially hidden from the user's view, the user may view the window by performing an action (e.g., activating an onscreen icon or pressing a combination of keys on a keyboard) that transforms the window from being hidden to being visible to the user.
Certain pre-defined conditions determine if the delivered instant message is unread by the user. The aforementioned conditions include: (1) IM chat window 114 is displayed in view of the user, but the intended recipient closes window 114 in a time period that does not provide adequate time for the user to read the message; (2) as the IM client application is in the process of exiting, the instant message is received by the IM client application prior to closure of a server thread servicing the IM client application, but window 114 is not in view of the user for a time period that is adequate for the user to read the message; and (3) the IM client application crashes, the operating system of a computing device that is running the IM client application crashes, or the computing device is powered down after the instant message is received by the IM client application and delivered for display in IM chat window 114, but prior to the intended recipient viewing a display of the instant message in window 114.
Unread message handler 108 queries (i.e., reads, updates, and deletes) data records in data repository 112 to identify instant messages that are considered to have been unread or read by the intended recipient according to pre-defined criteria discussed below relative to
Each of the two embodiments of
Incoming Message Handler
Unread Message Handler
If step 304 determines that the chat window does not have focus, inquiry 306 determines if an externally initiated event terminates the unread message handler process. In one embodiment, inquiry 306 determines if any of the following events occur before the chat window attains focus: (1) the IM client application exits, (2) the IM client application crashes, (3) the operating system (OS) crashes (i.e., the OS of the computing device that is running the IM client application crashes), or (4) the computing device running the IM client application powers down. If inquiry 306 determines that none of the aforementioned events (1)-(4) occurs, then the process loops back to step 304. If inquiry 306 determines that one of the events (1)-(4) occurs before the chat window attains focus, then the unread message handler process ends at step 308. In the step 308 exit of the
Returning to inquiry 304, if the chat window does have focus, the time that the chat window received focus is recorded in memory in step 310. The memory is coupled to a computing device that executes the IM client application. The time of the user's last interaction with the computing device running the IM client application is recorded in memory in step 312. Interaction with the computing device is determined by detecting a key press on a keyboard, pointing device movement, a voice command, facial recognition via a camera, and any other known manner of detecting the user's presence. Inquiry 314 determines if the chat window has been closed so quickly that the user did not have adequate time to read the instant message in the chat window, where the adequacy of the time to read the message is based on a pre-defined threshold value. In one embodiment, inquiry 314 determines if the chat window is closed by the user in a time period that is less than a pre-defined threshold value (a.k.a. focus time threshold). In inquiry 314, the time period being compared to the pre-defined threshold value starts at the time the chat window gains focus. The pre-defined threshold value is, for example, a user-defined value, or a value set by the IM client application. In one embodiment, a default value is set for the pre-defined threshold value and limits are set on the values that a user can supply for the threshold value. Closure of the chat window can be performed by, for example, clicking a window close button (e.g., a button with an X icon), pressing the Escape key, or using a keyboard combination to close a window (e.g., pressing Alt-W, Alt-F4 or Ctrl-W).
In an alternate embodiment, inquiry 314 determines if the chat window was closed before the user could read the entire instant message based on estimated value(s) of the user's reading speed and the amount of text included in the instant message displayed in the chat window. For example, an estimate of reading speed can be obtained from (1) the user inputting a reading speed (e.g., in words per minute); (2) an automated reading test provided by the IM client application during setup or configuration (e.g., the application presents sample text, the user clicks a button to indicate when reading starts, the user clicks a button to indicate when reading ends, and the application computes the reading time and rate); or (3) one or more application-specified default values based on, for instance, the reading speed of an average person for various numbers of words or characters. For example, default reading speeds for a user are 1-10 characters read in two seconds, 11-30 characters read in 5 seconds, etc., and a first instant message is delivered that includes 15 characters. In this example, the focus time threshold in inquiry 314 for the first instant message is set to 5 seconds. Continuing this example, a second instant message is delivered that includes only two characters. Thus, the focus time threshold in inquiry 314 for the second instant message is set to two seconds.
If inquiry 314 determines that the chat window was closed too quickly for the user to read the instant message, then step 316 generates a request to redisplay the prematurely closed chat window by performing the message redisplay process (see
If inquiry 314 determines that the chat window had focus for a time period that was adequate for the user to read the instant message, then the unread message handler process continues in
The conditions of inquiry 320 are not evaluated until either (1) the user is idle for a time period greater than or equal to the pre-defined threshold value for interaction idleness, or (2) there is a subsequent interaction with the computing device after the interaction time recorded in step 312. If the aforementioned conditions (a) and (b) are evaluated as true, then the instant message is considered to be read.
As an alternative to inquiry 320, the instant message is considered to be read in response to the user performing a precise action (e.g., activating a button on a graphical user interface) to indicate that the instant message has actually been read.
If the instant message is considered read, step 322 deletes the instant message from the local unread repository in the first embodiment (see
The pre-defined thresholds of the aforementioned conditions (a) and (b) are, for example, defined by the user, or specified by the IM client application. In one embodiment, the IM client application specifies default values for the pre-defined thresholds and sets limits on the values that can be supplied by the user for the pre-defined thresholds. Five minutes is one example of a default value for the interaction idleness threshold.
Returning to inquiry 320, if the instant message is not considered to be read by the pre-defined conditions (e.g., one or both of pre-defined conditions (a) and (b) are false), then inquiry 326 determines if the chat window has lost focus. If the chat window has lost focus, then the process repeats steps starting at step 304. On the other hand, if the chat window has not lost focus in inquiry 326, then the process repeats steps starting at step 314. Loss of focus detected in step 326 occurs via an action by the user or via a process external to the user. Examples of loss of focus due to a user action include the user (1) minimizing the chat window, (2) selecting a different window to gain focus (e.g., pressing Alt-Tab), and (3) launching a new window or process (e.g., selecting a different window from a task list). An example of loss of focus due to an external process is the configuration of the IM client application providing an automatic display of any new chat conversation in a new chat window that takes focus from the previous chat window.
The actions that terminate the IM client application relative to inquiry 306 can also occur at other times during the unread message handler process. If such terminating actions occur before the instant message is deleted from the unread repository in step 322, then the instant message is considered to be unread and a redisplay of the message is triggered in the message redisplay process of
In the following examples of the unread message handler process, the focus time threshold for the chat window is 4 seconds and the interaction idleness threshold is 5 minutes.
In a first example, an instant message is delivered to a chat window, thereby triggering the event in step 302. In this example, the chat window is automatically given focus by the IM client application at time T. The time the chat window received focus (i.e., time T) is recorded in step 310, and the time of the user's last interaction with the computing device running the IM client application is recorded in step 312. In this example, the user is in the process of closing various windows as the instant message is being delivered, and accidentally closes the chat window at time T+0.1 seconds, before having a chance to read the instant message in the chat window. Since the user closed the chat window in a time period (i.e., (T+0.1 seconds)−T, or 0.1 seconds) that is less than the focus time threshold of 4 seconds, the process follows the Yes branch of inquiry 314 (i.e., the instant message is considered unread and in need of redisplay). Step 316 requests a redisplay of the instant message included in the chat window that was prematurely closed. The instant message is then redisplayed according to the process described below relative to
In a second example, a user temporarily leaves the computing device that is running the IM client application at time T. The user will be away from the computing device for 10 minutes. Time T−1 minute was the time of the user's last interaction with the computing device. At time T+2 minutes, an instant message is displayed in the chat window that has focus. The process flows to the Yes branch from inquiry 304. Focus time (i.e., T+2 minutes) and the last user interaction time (i.e., T−1 minute) are recorded in steps 310 and 312, respectively. The process flows via the No branch from inquiry 314 because the user is not present to close the chat window. At time T+4 minutes (i.e., at the duration of the interaction idleness threshold, which is 5 minutes after the time of the last user interaction), the chat window still has focus, and inquiry 320 is ready to be evaluated. At time T+4 minutes, the chat window has had (T+4 minutes)−(T+2 minutes), or 2 minutes of focus time, which is sufficient for the user to have read the instant message (i.e., 2 minutes is greater than or equal to the focus time threshold of 4 seconds). Since at time T+4 minutes, the interaction idleness time is (T+4 minutes)−(T−1 minute), or 5 minutes, the interaction idleness is excessive (i.e., 5 minutes is greater than or equal to the interaction idleness threshold of 5 minutes), thereby indicating that the user is likely to be absent from the computing device that is executing the IM client application. The excessive interaction idleness and the continued focus of the chat window cause the process to flow via the No branches of inquiries 320 and 326, thereby returning to inquiry 314. This loop from step 314 to step 326 continues until the user returns at time T+10 minutes.
Upon returning to the computing device, the user moves a mouse pointing device at time T+10 minutes, and closes the chat window at time T+11 minutes. At inquiry 314, the period between the chat window's time of gaining focus and its closing (i.e., (T+11 minutes)−(T+2 minutes) or 9 minutes) is greater than the focus time threshold (i.e., 9 minutes>the 4 second focus time threshold). Therefore, the No branch of inquiry 314 is taken to inquiry 320. Inquiry 320 can be evaluated because there were subsequent user interactions at times T+10 minutes and T+11 minutes. The idleness time is recomputed to be (T+11 minutes)−(T+10 minutes) or 1 minute, which is not excessive based on the 5 minute interaction idleness threshold (i.e., 1 minute<the 5 minute interaction idleness threshold). Again, the chat window has had sufficient focus time for the user to have read the instant message. Since the two conditions of inquiry 320 are true, the instant message is considered read and step 322 deletes the message from the unread repository.
In a third example, the events of the second example are followed up to and including the events that happen at time T+4 minutes. At time T+6 minutes the chat window loses focus due to a second instant message being displayed in another chat window that takes focus. Hereinafter, the chat window that loses focus in this example is referred to as the initial chat window. Since the initial chat window loses focus, inquiry 326 evaluates to Yes, and the process continues with inquiry step 304. Since the initial chat window does not have focus, the process follows the No branch of inquiry 304 to inquiry 306. In this example, the operating system of the computing device running the IM client application crashes at time T+8 minutes (i.e., prior to the user returning to the computing device and having an opportunity to redisplay the initial chat window and read the instant message). In response to the operating system crash, the process follows the Yes branch of inquiry 306. The unread message handler process then ends at step 308 with the instant message still considered as being unread because a copy of the instant message remains in the unread repository. After the operating system is running again, the IM client application is restarted. Upon restarting the IM client application, the message redisplay process (see
In one embodiment, step 406 is modified to display one or more notifications of the one or more unread messages, rather than the messages themselves. To display an unread message in this embodiment, the user activates an icon or other screen element associated with the notification of the unread message.
Although not shown in
Memory 504 may comprise any known type of data storage and/or transmission media, including magnetic media, optical media, random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), a data cache, a data object, etc. Local memory elements of memory 504 are employed during actual execution of message redisplay system 514. Cache memory elements of memory 504 provide temporary storage of at least some program code in order to reduce the number of times code must be retrieved from bulk storage during execution. Storage unit 512 is, for example, a magnetic disk drive or an optical disk drive that stores data such as the unread instant messages of repository 112 (see
I/O interface 506 comprises any system for exchanging information to or from an external source. I/O devices 510 comprise any known type of external device, including a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, handheld device, printer, facsimile, etc. Bus 508 provides a communication link between each of the components in computing device 500, and may comprise any type of transmission link, including electrical, optical, wireless, etc.
I/O interface 506 also allows computing device 500 to store and retrieve information (e.g., program instructions or data) from an auxiliary storage device, such as a non-volatile storage device (e.g., a CD-ROM drive which receives a CD-ROM disk) (not shown). Computing device 500 can store and retrieve information from other auxiliary storage devices (not shown), which can include a direct access storage device (DASD) (e.g., hard disk or floppy diskette), a magneto-optical disk drive, a tape drive, or a wireless communication device.
Memory 504 includes computer program code comprising message redisplay system 514 that implements the logic of the processes of
The invention can take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment or an embodiment containing both hardware and software elements. In a preferred embodiment, the invention is implemented in software, which includes but is not limited to firmware, resident software, microcode, etc.
Furthermore, the invention can take the form of a computer program product accessible from a computer-usable or computer-readable medium providing program code 514 for use by or in connection with a computing device 500 or any instruction execution system to provide and facilitate the capabilities of the present invention. For the purposes of this description, a computer-usable or computer-readable medium can be any apparatus that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.
The medium can be an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system (or apparatus or device) or a propagation medium. Examples of a computer-readable medium include a semiconductor or solid state memory, magnetic tape, a removable computer diskette, RAM 504, ROM, a rigid magnetic disk and an optical disk. Current examples of optical disks include compact disk—read-only memory (CD-ROM), compact disk—read/write (CD-R/W) and DVD.
Any of the components of the present invention can be deployed, managed, serviced, etc. by a service provider that offers to deploy or integrate computing infrastructure with respect to the unread instant message identification and redisplay method of the present invention. Thus, the present invention discloses a process for supporting computer infrastructure, comprising integrating, hosting, maintaining and deploying computer-readable code into a computing system (e.g., computing device 500), wherein the code in combination with the computing system is capable of performing a method of identifying and redisplaying unread instant messages.
In another embodiment, the invention provides a business method that performs the process steps of the invention on a subscription, advertising and/or fee basis. That is, a service provider, such as a Solution Integrator, can offer to create, maintain, support, etc. an unread instant message identification and redisplay method of the present invention. In this case, the service provider can create, maintain, support, etc. a computer infrastructure that performs the process steps of the invention for one or more customers. In return, the service provider can receive payment from the customer(s) under a subscription and/or fee agreement, and/or the service provider can receive payment from the sale of advertising content to one or more third parties.
The flow diagrams depicted herein are provided by way of example. There may be variations to these diagrams or the steps (or operations) described herein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For instance, in certain cases, the steps may be performed in differing order, or steps may be added, deleted or modified. All of these variations are considered a part of the present invention as recited in the appended claims.
While embodiments of the present invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, many modifications and changes will become apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to encompass all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.
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|Jul 28, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHEN, YEN-FU;HANDY-BOSMA, JOHN HANS;SPEARS, PATSY ANNETTE;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018017/0187;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060726 TO 20060727
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION,NEW YO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHEN, YEN-FU;HANDY-BOSMA, JOHN HANS;SPEARS, PATSY ANNETTE;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060726 TO 20060727;REEL/FRAME:018017/0187
|Jan 16, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TWITTER, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:032075/0404
Effective date: 20131230
|Jan 17, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 27, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Feb 27, 2014||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|